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As Fulton County students return to class today, most schools have mask mandate

It's not a blanket mandate but will apply immediately to most of the county.

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County Schools announced a mask policy on Thursday that will effectively put a mandate in place for most schools and facilities in the district.

The policy does not amount to a blanket mandate, but the school system said it would apply to "schools and facilities located in municipalities where the rate of infection exceeds 100 per 100,000 residents."

With the county as a whole registering 277 cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks and COVID cases generally again on the rise, the school system said just one of the 14 cities in the county come in under the "High Community Spread" threshold.

RELATED: Mask or no mask? Here's how districts plan to start the upcoming school year

The only city in the county registering fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 residents is Johns Creek, according to the school system's designations.

Johns Creek's nine elementary schools, three middle schools and three high schools in the FCS system may not slip under the mask mandate for long - the city clocks in at 98 cases per 100,000 residents currently. 

The policy will require masks for all students, personnel and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, and will go into effect on Monday (Aug. 9).

Additionally, FCS students and staff will be required to report positive or pending COVID tests and contact with anyone who has tested positive. Students awaiting test results can continue going to school if they are symptom free and wear a mask. 

The school system will also allow students - regardless of vaccination status - to continue going to school in the event of contact with a person who has tested positive, under the conditions that the student is symptom free and wears a mask.

"Thank you for your partnership during this pandemic. Our ability to continue moving forward depends on all of us wearing masks, staying home when sick, and following all the other mitigation strategies recommended to reduce the spread of the virus," the district said in a release. "We remain committed to providing a safe learning environment while providing our students the very best educational opportunities."